With “Map Reference”, Irish synthesist Stephan Whitlan delivered his debut album on his private Fairy Nuff label back in 1996. Looking back, it’s a great example what a whole bunch of analogue gear and some keen musicianship can lead do (although the story in the cd-booklet reveals to get to this outcome wasn’t easy at all).
The key factor though remains Mr Whitlan, who knows his ways with electronics, as he loves modular programming next to dabbling around and experimenting with his instruments. While he does so, he created sort of his own cool sound, although references to John Dyson have been made as well (which isn’t strange as he was part of the JD live-band for years).
Well, this 74-minute album contains some infectious and bouncing sequencer patterns as well as well layered synth pads with some jolly nice solos on top. A sure highlight is the 20-minute album opener “The second hand swept away the time that could never be”, an energetic and complex outing with a stunning flow of recurring electronic elements and melodic lines.
“Map Reference” stands out due to a great pairing of sequencing, rhythmic patterns and melody, offering a lot to discover and enjoy over and over again.
|You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Stephan Whitlan artist page